Houthi rebels say they are now able to target major cities and oil facilities deep inside Saudi Arabia.
A top UN official in Yemen has said reported Saudi-led air raids, in which at least 12 civilians including children were killed, were an example of the “disregard” for civilians’ safety shown by all sides in Yemen’s civil war.
At least 10 others were also wounded in Saada province after attacks on Friday on a house and a private vehicle, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Jamie McGoldrick said, citing reports from fellow aid groups.
Three women and six children from the same family were killed in an air attack by the Saudi-led coalition on their home in the area, a local health official told the Reuters news agency.
A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition did not respond to a request for a comment.
‘Disregard for the protection of civilians’
Yemen has been torn apart by a civil war in which the exiled government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, is trying to push back gains made by Houthi rebels and their allies, who control most of the north, including the capital Sanaa.
The latest attacks exemplified the “brutality” of the conflict, McGoldrick said in the statement in which he expressed deep concern.
“All parties to the conflict continue to show a disregard for the protection of civilians and the principle of distinction between civilians and combatants in the conduct of hostilities.”
Saada, a Houthi stronghold, has been repeatedly hit by air raids since the Saudi-led coalition of Arab states joined the war in March 2015.
The Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people, displaced more than three million and ruined much of the impoverished country’s infrastructure.
In December, the coalition acknowledged it had made “limited use” of British-made cluster bombs, but said it had stopped using them.
Nearly half of Yemen’s 22 provinces are on the verge of famine, according to the UN World Food Programme.